Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari saturday in Abuja said the planned withdrawal of military from internal operations would be done with caution.
In a statement, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the president assured Nigerians that the withdrawal of military from flashpoints would be done in a manner that would not expose affected communities to more risks of attacks.
According to the statement, the president further explained that the withdrawal exercise from flash points where peace had been restored would be gradual and carefully planned.
It also said the president insisted that the move would not be abrupt or arbitrary with a view to ensuring that it does not jeopardise the success already recorded by the military.
Shehu said the president also reacted to concerns and appeals from governors and community leaders over the proposed withdrawal, saying the “administration will not abandon citizens in need of protection.”
The statement added that the president urged Nigerians, especially public affairs’ analysts, to carefully study the announcement made after a security council meeting with service chiefs on Monday that the withdrawal of troops would be done after an “assessment” to determine areas where peace had returned to enable civil authorities assume full control.
Buhari noted that where it is determined that the withdrawal would not jeopardise peace already achieved, the withdrawal would be done in a careful and gradual way. Shehu quoted the president as saying, “You don’t need to worry. We will not expose our people and their communities to harm or danger.
“The withdrawal is to allow the military focus on its primary duty of defending the nation against external aggression. It is the duty of the police to handle internal security since Nigeria is not at war.
“The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps will support the police to provide internal security. When it is time to withdraw, nothing will be rushed.’’